Story Number: NNS140402-21Release Date: 4/2/2014 4:33:00 PM
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Todd C. Behrman, Amphibious Squadron 11 Public Affairs
USS DENVER, At Sea (NNS) -- Chief petty officers (CPO) aboard amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9) celebrated the 121st birthday of the Navy chief petty officers, April 1.
"The chief petty officer birthday is an annual recognition of who we are as Sailors and a tribute to a service that realized long ago that chiefs are a necessary and unique group of leaders who wear the uniform of management while speaking the language of the deck plates," said Denver's Command Master Chief Edwin Purdy.
Chiefs and Sailors from all departments on the ship gathered on the mess deck to participate in the celebration, which included speeches from chiefs onboard that had a chief from their past who mentored or guided them in their naval careers.
Speakers commented on the relationships between chiefs, enlisted Sailors and junior officers, and the important role the chief has in bridging the gap between the groups.
"It is the chief petty officer that enforces good order and discipline, ensuring enlisted Sailors and junior officers, potentially future commanding officers, have proper focus and direction," said Purdy. "Furthermore, the enlisted Sailor grows in ways that they can eventually take the reins and do the same, carrying on the great traditions of the chief petty officers long after we have been relieved of the watch."
As the rank of chief petty officer celebrates its 121st birthday, some took the chance to note the historical impact throughout time of the Chiefs Mess.
"Since the chief has been designated in the U.S. Navy a lot of things have changed," said Capt. Michael Donnelly, commanding officer of Denver. "But one thing has been consistent and that is the CPO Mess. No matter what program, evolution, process or warfare capability it is, I can guarantee that your unit or your ship will only be as successful as your Mess."
The ceremony concluded with a cake-cutting by the commanding officer and the oldest and youngest CPOs onboard the ship.
Denver is one of three ships of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group conducting Spring Patrol. This is Denver's last scheduled deployment, as the ship is slated for decommissioning later this year.